Nationalism and Xenophobia in July 2019
SOVA Center is aware of only one hate-motivated assault in Russia in July 2019, which occurred in Nizhny Novgorod. Since the beginning of this year, four people have been killed and 17 more injured as a result of racist violence. Meanwhile, two others received serious hate-motivated threats on their lives. These incidents were recorded in 13 regions of the country.
Any public activity by Russian nationalists in July 2019 was mostly in connection with municipal elections in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Representatives of several ultra-right-wing organizations unsuccessfully campaigned for a seat in the Moscow City Duma.
Some nationalists participated in Moscow protests in relation to the municipal elections. For example, the Right Bloc and the Association of Popular Resistance (ANS) participated in July 27 actions in Moscow; ANS press secretary Nikita Zaitsev was detained in Central Moscow and sent to the Tverskoy district police station, where he slit his wrists as a “radical protest;” he was subsequently hospitalized. Dmitry Dyomushkin, the ex-leader of the “Russians” organization and the Slavic Union participated as a “journalist” and as such was able to avoid detention. Overall, nationalist participation in the Moscow protests was hardly noticeable.
In St. Petersburg, a sole nationalist, Vyacheslav Datsik, showed up to a July 24 protest to throw the fascist salute and threaten another “1917,” in an apparent reference to the overthrow of the tsarist government in that year.
Right-wing radicals conducted nearly none of their own actions in July. Even the previously popular Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, July 25, was marked by only a few members of the Nation and Freedom Committee (KNS).
However, we note the mobilization of Russian Orthodox nationalists. Overnight on July 16-17, several cities in the country saw events commemorating the execution of the Russian imperial family, which took place on the date in 1918. The main organizations leading these events were the imperialist movement Double-Headed Eagle and the Russian Youth Organization (RMO), both of which are headed by Konstantin Malofeev.
SOVA Center is not aware of any convictions arising out of hate-motivated violence, where such motive was recognized by the court. So far this year, 10 individuals have been convicted in 6 such cases in Russia.
Two individuals from the so-called Perm Nazi Team (PNZS) were charged this month under Article 282.1 of the Criminal Code, the creation of an extremist association. The charges arose out of their participation in the November 19, 2017 arson of a United Russia building, as well as xenophobic and anti-government graffiti. Since the beginning of the year, we are aware of six such rulings against eight individuals for the creation and participation in extremist associations, in five regions of the country.
Meanwhile, Russian courts issued no fewer than seven guilty verdicts on the basis of xenophobic statements, against nine individuals in seven regions of the country. Eight were convicted under Article 280 of the Criminal Code (public calls to extremist activity), while the other was convicted under Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code (justification of terrorism) in relation to a radical Islamist text.
We do not know the contents of the charges except for in one case: in Vladivostok, the court issued a suspended sentence of two years’ imprisonment against Anna Skripko, a security guard of a Pacific Fleet facility of the Russian Navy; she was also deprived of the right to participate in public organizing under Part 2 of Article 280 of the Criminal Code. She was convicted for publication to social media of a video clip entitled “Comments of Colonel Kvachkov on the situation of Russian nationalists in prisons,” and for the “dissemination of nationalist ideas among civilian paramilitary security personnel” in person and via messenger apps. We are inclined to consider the sentence against Skripko appropriate.
Since the beginning of the year, no fewer than 63 guilty verdicts have been issued on the basis of racist and other unconstitutional statements, against 68 individuals in 37 regions of Russia.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated once this month, on July 27, to include entries 4921-4923. The additions were three issues of an online journal, which among other things contain calls for the extermination of “enemies of the white race.”
No fewer than four individuals were fined under Article 20.3.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (incitement to national hatred), which corresponds to the former Part 1 of Article 282 of the Criminal Code. Social media users were sanctioned for the publication of an anti-Semitic article, statements and calls to attack migrants and natives of Central Asia, anti-Russian Orthodox commentaries with calls for believers to leave “together with their icons, priests and relics.”
According to our data, no fewer than five individuals were sanctioned under Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (propaganda and public display of Nazi symbols and symbols of banned organizations). Four such individuals were fined for the publication on social media of various materials featuring swastikas and the coat of arms of the Third Reich. One individual was jailed for five days for displaying his own swastika tattoo.
Eleven people were fined under Article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (production and distribution of banned materials). These cases treated the reposting in social media of video and audio clips by groups popular among the ultra-right, as well as an audio clip by the banned organization Hizb ut-Tahrir. We have not been able to confirm the contents of the publications that gave rise to charges in seven of the cases.
This data provided in this review do not account for court decisions that we consider to be prima facie improper. Unfortunately, our data, especially with respect to the Code of Administrative Offenses, is incomplete.